05-Aug-2007 -- apex confluence-I (16°N80°E)
Sharply at 5.00 AM, on 05th August, 2007, along with Mr.Gunachandran Samuel and Mr.Vasu, I left Chennai in my SWIFT to visit two confluences viz., 16°N80°E and 15°N79°E, respectively located in Guntur and Cudappah Districts of neighboring Andhra Pradesh state. We are out of the city by 5.30 AM avoiding the traffic and entered AP state by 6.00 AM driving through NH – 5.
The intermittent drizzles made our drive little slow even though the 4 lane highway offered an excellent opportunity for a race. We never even thought of stopping the vehicle for a cup of tea as our plan was to reach our destination point (16°N80°E) before 11.00 AM which, we assume, is about 350 kms away. This is my second visit to a confluence (visited 15°N80°E exactly a year before i.e. on 06.08.2006), but for my friends this is a new experience. We cruised through NH-5 for 238 kms non-stop and parked my ‘swift’ exactly at 8.51 AM on the same spot where I did last year to explore 15°N80°E. This confluence is located a few hundred feet away from the road junction where Nellore and Ongole districts meet on this highway. We walked through the eucalyptus plantation, which is grown thicker now presenting a charming and cool atmosphere. Mr.Gunachandran was thrilled to use my newly acquired GPS to locate the confluence by himself and we took few snaps at the location.
We swiftly continued our journey further north through NH-5, crossing Ongole town at a faster pace to reach Medarametla (312 kms) by 10.30 AM for our breakfast. Kudos to NHAI who maintains avenues and gardens all along NH-5 in Ongole District. The morning drive was so enchanting and stimulating to be afresh even after this drive. After a quick and heavy breakfast at ‘Garden Restaurant’ on the highway, we continued our journey for about 2 kms and took left turn leading to another small town called Addanki. Surprisingly, this road is also good and we traveled 22 kms further north of Addanki to reach a small village called ‘Ramanayapuram’ where our GPS displayed the reading of just crossing the line of 16°N.
We predicted the confluence to be on our right at a distance of about 6 kms. We took the unpaved village road through Ramanayapuram, Osarpalaya, Edadhulkai and Chinnipalle, all typical Indian rural terrain, presenting a picturesque landscape on both sides of harvested paddy fields with a backdrop of series of small hillocks. As we approached Chinnipalle village again our GPS reading crossed the line of 80°E. Finally, we assumed the confluence to be at a few hundred meters south-west of this village. Our long journey of 362 kms came to an abrupt end once we crossed this village as the road laying works were ongoing with a big poclain machine blocking our road. We parked our car and walked initially through a dry lake and then on the bunds of swampy harvested rice fields for about a kilometer maneuvering with our GPS in search of the confluence.
As I lead our team nearer to the point, the sudden appearance of a 7-8 feet long rat-snake made us in jitters for a moment, which menacingly came towards us and before composing me to normal it sneaked right under my feet into its den just behind me. I am lucky to have a snap of it. We were delighted at the glimpse of this ‘master of meadows’. A couple of minutes later, we easily located the confluence right in the middle of harvested rice field. Mr.Gunachandran and Mr.Vasu were in ecstasy for having found an unexplored confluence. We named it ‘apex confluence-I’ just for the thrill of including our motivating pharmaceutical company, apex laboratories limited, Chennai. We placed the printed plaque and took all the mandatory photographs including the GPS reading.
All through our walk in a vast terrain of rice fields, none seemed to be bothered about the presence of our new faces in their terrain. Then, we shouted at two locals who were shepherding their grazing livestock at a distance. Mr.Vasu tried to explain them in Telugu (local language) of the significance of the spot and what we were doing there but none (both are named Koteeswara Raos) seemed to have understood. However, they obliged us with smile posing for a couple of snaps at the confluence. Quickly bidding them with goodbye, we walked back to our car quickly as we were already late by 2 hours (as per our plan for the day) in the hunt for another confluence, 15°N79°E.